Although we are winding down grapefruit season in South Texas I still wanted to share one of my favorite drinks because Citrus is a big deal around these parts and no more so than in the Rio Grande Valley. Located at the southernmost tip of South Texas, it lies along the northern bank of the Rio Grande river, which separates Mexico from Texas. It is believed that grapefruit made its way to South Texas, most likely by visiting Spanish missionaries. The first citrus grove in South Texas popped up in 1893 and the first commercial citrus shipment left the Rio Grande Valley in the 1920’s. Since then they have continued to grow and in the 70’s and 80’s produced two new types of grapefruits that are known for their bright red flesh color, the Ruby Sweet and the Rio Star. Citrus is such a big deal in fact, that Mission, Texas has a festival every year to celebrate. Entitled the Texas Citrus Fiesta it is a multi-week event that has Royalty (King Citrus and Queen Citrianna) and culminates with the Parade of Oranges. We will have to check that out for you next year!
Because of this history, citrus finds its way into a lot of our recipes. One of my favorite is a drink I’ve named the Paloma Flaco, or skinny dove. I have a thing for the Paloma drink (tequila and grapefruit juice) but realized that using a fresh squeezed grapefruit is way tastier (and healthier) than the canned or artificially flavored stuff. This recipe is super simple: tequila, fresh grapefruit juice and fresh lime. I like to put a rim of chili powder and salt on mine but to each their own. And remember, you can feel good about having this drink because you are not adding any artificial sugar! Word on the street is that tequila is one of the healthiest booze choices, but don’t take my word for it: https://nypost.com/2016/05/05/tequila-is-one-of-the-healthiest-booze-choices/
This drinks is so healthy you can’t afford not to enjoy one–try one this weekend!
¼ cup 100% Agave Tequila (I like Espolon-it is yummy and smooth and well priced)
1 Texas Grown Ruby Sweet or Rio Star grapefruit
Grapefruit or Lime flavored sparkling water (I like the HEB brand but if you are not in Texas LaCroix or Topo Chico works)
¼ cup course margarita salt
1 ½ T Chili Powder
A dash of Cayenne Pepper if you like it hot!
- Mix your salt concoction and set aside
- Slice your lime and rub around the rim of your glass
- Dip your glass into the salt mixture
- Fill the glass with salt and set aside–try to be easy dropping in the ice or the salt will get knocked off
- Using an electric or hand juicer, squeeze the grapefruit into a cup
- Squeeze your half lime into the same cup as the grapefruit juice and give it a mix
- Fill your glass with ¼ cup Tequila
- Pour the fresh grapefruit/lime juice mix over the tequila, gently stir and enjoy!
If you want it to go a bit farther, top it off with a little sparkling water of your choice. I also like a little heat so I finish off mine with a dash of cayenne pepper–you can add it to the top of the drink or incorporate it into the salt rim.